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Relevance to Healthy Ageing

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Healthy ageing has become the leading, EC-endorsed, theme of the UMCG, the University of Groningen and the northern region of the Netherlands. Research programmes have been defined within the UMCG that connect to this theme from diverse angles. Within the Kolff institute two programmes were redefined based on the PRC evaluation and the new developments towards healthy ageing. Two new research programmes were formulated based on the recognition that both oral health and function as well as advanced therapeutic (nano)biomaterials can significantly contribute to healthy ageing. All research and teaching efforts within the four programmes are related to this theme. Within the UMCG this relation is formalized within the field of Technology for Ageing People, in which the development and application of biomaterials for elderly patients is targeted, who experience an increased burden of potential diseases and disabilities such as cancer, diabetes, (organ) fibrosis and trauma. They will need therapies that increase their quality of life and their mobility. These therapies include the application of biomaterial-based solutions in medical devices, therapeutic drug-delivery devices, or diagnostic tools. The use of materials, including advanced nano-based carrier materials and therapeutic, bioactive molecules, evokes cell and tissue responses that need to be controlled. Any therapy can be associated with unwanted side effects that have to be minimized. Therefore, fundamental and applied research is needed to solve issues concerning these effects that include biomaterial-associated infections, material incorporation in tissue, aberrant foreign body responses, and the inappropriate homing and processing of nanocarrier drug delivery systems. Summarizing, the Kolff research programmes are organised around the question how to become older while maintaining a high quality of life, when disease and disability start to have an impact on daily life.